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He would later prosecute Federalists editors under this legislation, though he would allow the legislation to expire during his administration.James Madison wrote in The Virginia Report, 1800 that the Sedition Act was unconstitutional. In the speech in the House of Representatives on the proposed Sedition Act, Gallatin said that if sedition is an enemy of the Constitution, then it's liable to punishment.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!
Rather than having to establish residency in the US for five years before becoming eligible to become a citizen, the Naturalization Act increased the residency requirement to fourteen years.
The final, and most controversial, of the Alien and Sedition Acts, was the Sedition Act.
In 1799, Kentucky passed a resolution that declared that states could nullify objectionable federal laws.
Bitter controversies on a number of issues were revealed due to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.
It forbade any individual or group to oppose "any measure or measures of the United States." Under the Sedition Act, it was illegal to speak, write, or print any statement about the president which brought him, in the wording of the act, "into contempt or disrepute." The Sedition Act was set to expire in 1801.
Four of the five major Republican newspapers were charged with sedition just before the presidential election of 1800, and several foreign born journalists were threatened with expulsion.The Attorney General charged seventeen people with sedition, and ten were convicted.The strongest reaction to the Alien and Sedition Acts flared up in the South.The Alien Enemies Act was not called into use until the War of 1812.The second Act, the Alien Friends Act, was effective during peacetime, and allowed the president to deport any citizen of any foreign nation who he decided posed a threat to the nation while inside its borders.The law allowed the president to expel citizens without proof of guilt, claiming that spies would be adept at destroying evidence and able to easily fool many authorities.The statute was only enforceable until June 25, 1800, before the end of Adams' term and the 1800 congressional elections. The Naturalization Act revised the procedures by which an immigrant could become a citizen of the United States.In November and December 1798, shortly after the passage of the acts, both Kentucky and Virginia endorsed manifestos on states' rights, written anonymously by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively.These resolutions stated that state legislatures maintained the power of interposition, which allowed them to judge the constitutionality of acts of Congress.There are political explanations of why these Acts were passed which center primarily around the state of foreign relations.Two parties of the day, the Democratic-Republic and the Federalists were initially in support of the constitution that did not require a Bill of Rights, and only conceded in order to aid in the ratification of the Constitution.